Hello! Hej! Прывітанне! Labas!

My name is Nadzeya Charapan. I’m a doctoral student at Vilnius University and a guest researcher at Uppsala University. With my academic background in humanities, throughout the last ten years, I have been teaching diverse courses on cultural heritage, cultural memory, and communication for students from Belarus, Lithuania, Estonia, Portugal, the Netherlands, Turkey, and the USA. Next year I will join the dream teaching team of Digital Humanities MA program at Uppsala University and hopefully will meet you, dear Reader.

Right now I’m working on my doctoral thesis about visitor experiences at ethnographic open-air museums (so-called skansens) in Sweden, Lithuania, and Belarus. My research aims to problematize ethnographic open-air museums as places of memory negotiations, agents of societal change, and celebrations of imaginary community (nation?). I extensively apply participatory methodologies to trace and map patterns of real-time visitor experiences and engagements with cultural heritage, conveyed through the materiality of the reconstructed vernacular past.

As digitalization became mainstream, many museums develop websites, applications, digital interactivities, and social media accounts. Undoubtedly, digitalization provides vast affordances for facilitation of long-lasting relationship with their audiences and enhances visitor experiences. However, many cultural institutions adopt a rather ambivalent position towards the ubiquitous digital intensification, since there is a possibility that physical visits to museums would be inexorably abandoned to the benefit of virtual visitations.

What is the relationship between real and digital museum experiences? Do they complement or substitute each other? What is the role of artworks, aura, and authenticity in the production of the visitor experience in the digital age?

For now, I will keep these questions unanswered, but we will definitely discuss them later altogether…